The Ballarat Miners have lost its third game of the NBL1 men's season, falling to the Waverley Falcons at home on Saturday night.
The Miners came into the game short-handed, missing captain Josh Fox, import guard Marqueze Coleman and bench shooter Ross Weightman.
Fox's absence was felt from the get-go as the Falcons forced the ball inside to Deondre McWhorter, whose size was causing issues for the Ballarat defence.
The 115 kilogram McWhorter was dominant inside, shaking off defenders to finish the contest with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Miners centre Deng Acuoth did his best to match McWhorter's output, showcasing some nice finishes around the rim and from the mid-range. Acuoth ended the game with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 39 minutes of action.
Trailing going into the second quarter, Ballarat just couldn't seem to get its nose in front as each time the Miners looked poised to take the lead, the Falcons were there with a momentum stopping possession.
This was the case in the third quarter as well as the second, at the both sides played to a 44-44 stalemate.
Searching for energy off his bench, Miners coach Brendan Joyce tasked seldom seen youth league player Blake Allison with providing a spark, which he delivered on.
In his first real minutes of the season, Allison played solid defence, garbed rebounds and hit shots to help the Miners cut the lead to as little as three points down the stretch of the game.
Speaking to The Courier after the game, Allison said he was simply playing within his role.
"My role was just to be a tough presence on the floor, getting rebounds and playing hard defence," he said.
"I know I'm not going to score 30 or 40 points off the bench, I'm just there to try and lift the team as much as I can."
Finishing the game having played 16 minutes including some key fourth quarter stretches, Allison said it was an honour to have Joyce show so much faith in his ability.
"I come into these games with the mindset "I'll take what I'm given,"
"I'm going to play hard no matter whether if it's for 18 seconds like my first game or whatever I ended up playing in this game. Regardless of my stat-line, I'm just trying to help us get the win."
It unfortunately would not be enough for Ballarat, as some terrific shot-making by Waverley helped the side secure a 90-77 win in its pursuit of a finals spot.
The Miners next game will be its last before the NBL1 finals begin.
Jenkins' heroics not enough for Rush
The Ballarat Rush have gone down at home to the Waverley Falcons on Saturday night in the penultimate round of the NBL1 regular season.
Both sides traded the lead in what was a back and forth first term of action. Chanise Jenkins looked strong early, using her speed to create opportunities for herself and her teammates.
Trailing in the closing minutes of the term, guard Georgia Amoore came off the bench to sink a pair of three pointers to give the Rush the lead going into the first break.
The second quarter mirrored the first in many ways before Waverley were able to use their sweet outside shooting to outscore Ballarat 27-21 in the term, leading to a 43-41 half-time lead.
Falcons forward Carley Ermst finished the half leading all scorers with 14 points which included four three-pointers.
Waverley were able to move the ball with speed to start the second half, opening up a 10-point lead before the Rush responded with 11 unanswered points to take the lead.
Everything successful coming from the Rush was running through Jenkins, who finished the game having flirted with a quadruple double (33 points, 10 assists, nine steals and eight rebounds).
It unfortunately would not be enough for Ballarat, as the Rush couldn't match the Falcons scoring in the final term, falling 76-83.
Next Saturday's home game against the tenth-placed Melbourne Tigers will be the last of the season for the Rush after falling three wins short of making the NBL1 finals.
BALLARAT MINERS: 18, 21, 23, 15 (77)
WAVERLEY FALCONS: 23, 21, 23, 23 (90)
SCORERS: Miners - Acouth 21, Short 15 (3 three-pointers), Allison 11 (1), Evans Jr 9, Fisher 9 (1), Kuany 7 (2), Dunmore 3 (1), Lingard 2. Flancons - McWhorter 29, Travis 21 (3), Arkell 11 (3), Lewis 9 (1), Harper 7 (1), Liesting 6 (2), Neville 4, Fredrickson 3 (1)
REBOUNDS - Miners 40, Falcons 44
ASSISTS - Miners 20, Falcons 22
STEALS - Miners 8, Falcons 6
BLOCKS - Miners 5, Falcons 3
TURNOVERS - Miners 13, Falcons 11
FOULS - Miners 15, Falcons 11
BALLARAT RUSH: 20, 21, 19, 16 (76)
WAVERLEY FALCONS: 16, 27, 15, 25 (83)
SCORERS: Rush - Jenkins 33 (5 three-pointers), Amoore 13 (3), Burke 12, Hackmann 8 (2), Cochrane 6, Taylor 2, Blower 2. Falcons - Ermst 23 (7), Mokrzycki 20, Cunningham 17, Bowen 15 (1), Bygate 4, Miller 3 (1), Donald 1.
REBOUNDS - Rush 36, Falcons 44
ASSISTS - Rush 22, Falcons 27
STEALS - Rush 12, Falcons 8
BLOCKS - Rush 0, Falcons 3
TURNOVERS - Rush 16, Falcons 19
FOULS - Rush 11, Falcons 15
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